Android App Development: Top Security Risks

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March 22 2016

Mobile app development may or may not be easy, who knows? But it certainly is not a child lie because the biggest concern in mobile app development is to protect the privacy of the user which is continuously at risk due to various security risks. As we all know that Google's Android is the most widely used mobile OS platform and this makes it that much more prone to cyber-attacks and hacks. The grim truth is that despite Google's consolation the threat to Android's security still exists. But the question here is how real are these vulnerabilities and how much potential damage they can cause to the user and if android is safe at all for enterprise mobility solutions. This article will address the top security threats which an app developer must take into account while coding the app.

Potential risks in Google’s Play store

Android is an open-source OS and when things which are available for free are not managed properly; users’ security is at risk and one of the biggest potential sources of threat is Google Play. According to the experts, the store is not a well-policed environment and is at increased risk of hosting apps which can contain malware and spyware. Also, when users install apps from the play store they do not pay attention to the extent of permissions which the app is asking for. They simply accept the permission and install the app.

Malware

Almost 95 per cent of Android devices are at risk of getting affected by the malware and this shows how much these devices are at the extent of getting hacked or compromised. Some of the most common Android malware are:

  1. Andr/PJApps-C

  2. Andr/Generic-S

  3. Andr/BBridge-A

this malware aims at sending personal information to the server in hopes of hacking the personal account.

Android fragmentation

Top Security Risks

Fragmentation is one of the serious concerns of Android-based devices. Fragmentation means that multiple version of Android exists even on the latest devices and some of those devices are never updated to the latest version which makes them more of a potential target. These devices never update to the latest version when Google does.

This is the most challenging problem for the app developer as fragmentation creates a unique experience for each device which is often a great risk. It becomes more difficult to teach the users about the potential vulnerabilities as they are using totally different versions. It is impossible to provide a single security solution.

App permissions

Most of the time developers do not understand what type of permissions the mobile application actually needs. This misunderstanding often results in overzealous permissions. At the same time, app users have the tendency just to accept the permissions which the app is asking for. Apps should only request minimal permissions which are necessary for the total functioning of the app and users must see what type of permissions the app is asking for and must not accept if the permissions seem irrelevant.

Malicious software for the App development

Android’s security flaws lie in several directions such as:

  1. They lie in the OS itself

  2. In the apps which are built and installed

  3. In the tools which are used to build these apps

These vulnerabilities in the mobile app development scenario pose great security risks and users can get compromised anytime.

Customized OS

Customization is another threat which comes with Android. Device manufacturers often customize Android to make it function optimally on their devices. They can make any tweak to the OS they like and also users go on modifying the OS, by integrating the launchers from a third party which can create some serious security apps.